"A letter from a stranger" written to Lorna in January 2007

Hi Lorna,

Ever since I read about your addressing a group last year about surviving thyroid cancer,I have been wanting to get in touch with you ---then in today's Enterprise I found a lead in to locating you and with  my limited skills I found your web site and some helpful links.

I am an elderly woman who was operated on for thyroid cancer in 1948 when I was 26 years old.  The surgery performed at N.E. Baptist Hospital with a series of radiation at Lahey Clinic, which at that time was in Kenmore Sq. Further surgery 2 years later followed by radioactive iodine.

A widow since 1979 and the mother of 2 grown sons and grandmother to 7, great to 1, I maintain my 17th century home ,which has been my ongoing project since 1948 and enjoy my time playing in my garden----I already have in pots a few hundred plants for my garden club's annual sale.  Life has been good and I have lived fully each and every day.

Yes, thyroid cancer is a good cancer.  It has taught me to appreciate the  gift of life  and not clutter my mind with situations which would never be bettered by worrying.

Good luck with your book.

Email written to Lorna in April 2007

Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 12:37 AM
Subject: Your book

How can I get a copy of your book?  My sister, Bernadette is 33 and recently diagnosed and had surgery for thyroid cancer.  I think it would be great for both of us to read your experiences.  Where is it sold?  I think what you are doing is great.



"Additional Interest in The Good Cancer" written to Lorna in April 2007

I hope you are successful with the publication of your book.  Would you be willing to sell directly?  Its ironic how I stumbled across your site actually.  I had just done a google search on [famous name] - I recently saw [him] in Curtains and wanted to know more - and I typed in thyroid cancer to start a new search but didn't realize that I hadn't deleted [his] name out of the search box, so if you google "[famous name] thyroid cancer", your site is first up. :)

My sister and I are from New York [are you getting pounded by this rain too?] and it is so generous of you to offer to speak with her, but I don't think that she'd be comfortable with that.  She has been so strong and as she says 'sensible' about the whole thing [it's the Irish in us :)]; she wouldn't want to talk or email with someone she doesn't know.  But when I read about your memoirs, I thought that it might be good for her to unobtrusively get a 'sneak peek' and read about someone else's experiences - especially as you were diagnosed at the same age.  Although I must say, just looking at your website and reading about you, you come across so likeable that I think you'd be fast friends. :)  She already had her surgery [besides the thyroid, 7 lymph nodes and 2 para-thyroids came back positive for cancer] and two rounds of iodine radiation treatment.  She's really tired as they are still figuring out the proper dosage of synthroid she should be taking.  But as the doctors said, "If you have to have a cancer.......this is the one to get," which is why I loved the title of your book! 

As I said, I hope your book gets picked up soon and keep up the great work with the kids from

All the best,


Here are a few of the notes sent during my recovery. The power of these words kept me going on days when nothing else seemed to lift my spirit. If you know someone hurting, please take the time to send them a letter. ~Lorna

To my fellow warrior, I am so proud of you for making this experience as much of your own as possible. You are sassy & spicy when you need to be. You are not afraid of standing up for yourself, even in the most trying moment of navigating the possibilities of surgery (with the most arrogant simplistic twit!)  You are brilliant. Rock on darling-sister-friend. Love you 6 million, Rose Anne
(this note was written inside of a card with two school girls walking on a brick road with pig tails in their hair, book bags on their backs and one of them is carrying an umbrella.)

“I am strong enough to rise above most any troubled time…today may be a mountain, but I was born to climb.”  There’s something greater on the other side of this mountain and you have the kind of courage and determination it takes to get there. You have all of my love and support always, Maureen (this note was on a beautiful card with wild lavender on the cover.)

Remember, there is always someone thinking about you. That someone is me. Love, Grandma

Lorna, one of my favorite sayings is the Chinese meaning of Ying/Yang…. Crisis= Opportunity . I firmly believe that. In times of crisis we garner more strength than we ever thought we could and we make life-changing decisions that will impact us too profoundly to even try to explain. You may never know the reason, except that it will test you and your family-but ultimately make you stronger. You will get through this and continue on with the amazing things you have done for your family, your business and all of the kids you motivate, teach and guide every day!.....it will be one more source of inspiration for all of them. Again, please let me know if I can help in any way. Take care of yourself and hold your husband close-I trust that this journey will bind you both together even stronger than you ever thought.

I want you to take your left arm and wrap it around your right shoulder-now I want you to take your right arm and wrap it around your left shoulder-now SQUEEZE!! That’s from Jordyn and I-we love you!!! Xox Christina

You have always been the type of person to help others and I know everyone will be there to help you. I am the QUEEN of multi-tasking and can always fit in helping a friend out. So, please feel free to reach out and just ask for whatever you need. If we can’t help each other out in life when things get tough, then what are we all here for???? Love, Lisa

Dear Miss Lumpy, (aka Lorna)
I know you will be fine, you are young and too full of HELL to be any other way. We will all get through this shit. I hate it but it is a test and soon it too will get figured out.
Love, Miss Varicose Veins! (my friend Lucy)

Wow, Listen if you need a n y t h i n g or there is anything I can do for you-please just let me know, seriously. I’m sure you are stressed out but seem to be handling it very well. You amaze me. I’m glad you told me. Again-seriously-if you need anything, I’m here. I love you Tim

You are like a sister to me. If you need a ride or just company I will be glad to be your coiffeur……no pressure…….take care, WE LOVE YOU. Sue

Oh Dear Lorna,
I wish you all the strength in the world right now. Wow! Cancer is hard enough for one to take……it just doesn’t seem fair that it could possibly effect one of the most important organs of your body as a performer! I want you to know that I admire you as much as the school’s director as I do as a teacher or performer. I do hope you will take this opportunity to let people who care help you through. A lot of people that you are closest to will be extra busy helping you continue things during your surgery, treatment and recovery. I would be honored if you would let me help in some way. Cooking…….driving…….running errands…..take the help BEFORE Roger gets overwhelmed. Thoughts and prayers! Renee

Lorna: here are some more flowers to remind of you of spring when this is all behind you (and us) Love you, Hugs and Kisses, Grandma Xo

Hey how goes it? I got your card recently….and I too think we’ll one day be sitting on my vineyard porch laughing about all those ‘bumps in the road’ we got through. Like you finding your father at 20, my first husband and now this……in fact I’d like to get the vineyard house sooner than later so we don’t have to be 80 to enjoy the view. Thinking of you…….as always……..wishing I could help ease this burden. Sending lots of healthy, happy thoughts your way. Just think….every day is one more day closer to being DONE WITH THIS!!!! Jen

You will be fine…….I just know it in my bones……and hey, I always wanted to talk to you from five feet away…..yahoo…….I’ll work on my theatrical projection……ha, ha. Seriously, (somber music in) this is all good info. Each step you do is one less thing you have to do again…….so it’s surgery, taking care of post surgery procedures, then rest and healing. Remember you’re not doing this totally alone. Your friends, family and everyone who loves you will be part of this and assist here…….I’m not pregnant, am not worried about the radioactive jazz, and this will pass out of you……you will get a total clean bill of health. Happy up beat, ‘we are family’ music crescendo and fade. XXXX J (from my friend Jone regarding radioactive iodine radiation treatments)

“Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” Dorothy Bernard-author   Please know our thoughts and positive energies are with you. Love, Kim, Dave, Devon and Seth

Well, my take on it is that everyone has cancer to some degree, because cells in your body get f’ed up on a daily basis, and your immune system either overcomes them or it needs more help. And the good thing is there are incredible new treatments popping up every day. There are a lot of people surviving a lot of cancers out there. Treatment sucks, it’s true, but at least there is a treatment for this and I am confident that you will kick ass. Because you always kick ass! Just think of other crisis es (is that a word?) in your life. You have always been pro active and dynamic in creating the outcome that you desired, and you will be in this. Just like firing your first physician. Not all people would have the balls, you know. As for illness defying you, I think not. That’s only for people who have no other defining factors in their lives. And you have accomplished one hell of a lot more than many who live twice as long as you have. Jane ( Warren )

Breathe slowly…….exhale a lot. Do not try to hold your breath with this. Fear loves it. It likes to grow from your anxiety and become bigger than it is. I’ve had CANCER……the letters were 8 feet tall in my mind and I was a grain of sand. Then I realized that I had to make CANCER the grain, and myself 8 feet tall. Diminish it. It’s just an f’ing word that means……abnormal cells, abnormal growth….which is coming out……O-U-T….. of you. Don’t be the host. Visualize every day…..even when you are home alone…..take a few minutes. …see your thyroid area with gold light….and radiate it out to all your other cells. Talk to them. Tell your fi’g immune system to get in there and balance. You are living your destiny….it’s just the beginning……so get this shit behind you and continue on Star….you will continue to shine so I, like others, can see your light and be guided on this place called Gaia. You are a gift Lorna—and this thyroid cancer is a gift…..and the treatment and your Doctor is the packaging on the gift.

When the going seems all uphill-just think of the view from the top! Love, Sue and Val

Cancer is such a scary word. But cancer survivor has an awesome sound to it, doesn’t it? Love, Jannatha

“You’ve been through so much lately, and I know it has taken a lot out of you, and at times it must seem like things will never be normal again. But I know you can handle it, because you are one of the bravest people I’ve ever known.” -Dearest Lorna-if you need anything, please call. I love you, Ellen (Author of quoted words : Linda Lee Elrod)

Should I have the jet on stand-by? Jen (sent via email the night before my surgery regarding a trip to a warm luxurious place to recover)

God has a special plan for you. I really believe this. Love Val

Lorna, My thoughts and prayers are with you. Have courage and foster hope! Love and Blessings, Neil

Just a little note to wish you well tomorrow. Ill be thinking of you. The angel is to remind you of how strong you are and that shed some light on any ‘darkness’ you may encounter in the coming weeks. The flowers are just to make you smile. Know that I am here for you-as your employee, your neighbor and mostly as your friend. I love you and wish you a safe surgery and speedy recovery. Melissa

Jen was amazed at how you looked on Wednesday. She was so excited and upbeat about you! Have you been able to rest? Well, I wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking about you every day and can’t wait to see you. Love ya girlfriend…..Jules

Please be good to yourself. You WILL ABSOLUTELY get through this. I don’t know why it had to happen to you……Why couldn’t it happen to me?? I can’t carry a tune to save my life and I HATE my voice anyway! Maybe you will come out a sultry blues and jazz singer……but you WILL be okay. I just know it. Despite your AMAZING attitude, I know this can’t be easy on you. Everyone understands that. I can’t wait to be sipping cocktails with you on a warm and sunny beach somewhere soon. Heather

….one last note, Our Priest probably thinks I’m crazy but I wrote your name in the book like usual this week when we went to mass. Then I flipped the page to Wed and wrote it down 7 times. Not sure why 7 but I just did it until I felt I could stop. It probably looks crazy but I really feel prayer helps. Love, Val L.

Dear Lorna, Happy Birthday to one of the most joyous people that I know! Because of you, the world is truly a better place and I feel so fortunate to be a part of your life. Since you were a little girl, you were blessed with that special quality that makes some people shine. And now as a beautiful young woman, you are putting your talents to use in helping others to grow into their potential. You will never know how much you have added to this community. The children around you are filled with love for you and for the opportunity that you have given to them to become all that they can be. As I write your birthday letter, I must tell you how much you mean to me. As you touch me with your kindness, optimism and gentle love, I feel that special sparkle that you add to life without even trying. You are a gift, a treasure, a second daughter, and most of all-a dear friend. May this next year bring you good health and the answers to all of your dreams. Happy Birthday! With much love, Yvonne

Take care of yourself so we can have you back in our lives really soon. Love, Lauren

Just remember, the end product is worth it. Love, Ann

Let me be among the first to say Welcome Home! I wish you the happiest cancer free birthday of your life! Watch your front door on Monday, some fun stuff is heading your way. Lots of love to you my friend…..I’m so proud of your courage and your spirit. I KNEW you’d kick ass.     Jen

I hear you operation went well but that you’re probably not up to chatting on the phone with a million people yet, so I just wanted to send love and best wishes. It was, of course, my prayers that got through first upstairs, since we all know everyone’s afraid not to take calls from reporters……Love, Jane (Lopes)

Lorna (Wonder Woman), Thanks so much for our visit today. It was nice to see you and how wonderful you are doing. You look absolutely FABULOUS! Once again you amaze me. You have to be one of the strongest people I know, and your positive attitude is surly key in such a quick recovery. I will be in touch soon, maybe a ride out next week? You are in my thoughts constantly!  Love ya, Erica

“Today I woke up and immediately thought of you…..well, that’s not exactly true. First I thought of coffee.” Love, Angela

I am so proud of you and the way you are living what you are going through. I don’t doubt you have had some black, black moments of complete despair, but your words are full of energy and clarity and that makes me very happy. I know you must have many friends who tell you something similar, but your letter gave me a HUGE pause. Your experience really touched me, the way I take soooooooo much for granted, I am so blessed I so many ways, we all are, but it isn’t till we are forced to see our lives as being as completely temporary and fragile as they are that we can be thankful. I imagine that being as self sufficient and independent a person as you are, that letting others around you hold your hand, hold your heart, and be your strength, until you could hold them yourself must have been very difficult. I am so glad you have someone to be with you and grow with you through this. It makes perfect sense that it made you and Roger more of a team, it makes total sense that you would discover so many new tings between you when you had to shift the controls in your life so completely. God Bless both of you. Know that I love you and that my heart and thoughts are with you. Much love to you, Noah

I don’t know why these awful things happen, and why they happen to such wonderful people. That is the part that makes me angry. You do so much for so many, and have brought music and joy in to so many lives……..the lives you have touched by song, the smiles and the laughter it has brought to people. I just don’t understand, but maybe it is not our place to know why things happen. I do believe that God has a plan for all of us, and sometimes we may need to go through things to help others down the road or get better perspectives in life………Funny thing is when something great happens to us, we may say Thank you God but we don’t usually say WHY did this happen? We take it and are glad to have it. But when the bad things come......we just keep wondering why. We all need to live each day as if it were our last because we just don’t know. I will be here for you any time. Please know that and remember that always. Love, Heidi

You can do it! Love, Maureen, Bob and Molly

Gorgeous Puss, Welcome Home! Your spirits are great and I know you are going to do great. Fondly, Kitty

Dear Lorna, Prayers have been said for your healing. You will be blessed as you have brought blessings to those around you. With Christ’s Love, Mary Ann

Miss your beautiful face! Love and Light, Lee

Every day will begin more healing and soon you’ll be up and out and looking forward to spring time! Just know that you are in my prayers every day. Fondly, Grace

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